Some movies are short and sweet, some are short and funny, and some, you’re just glad they are short. This one, with an all star cast (Robert Redford, Nick Nolte, Emma Thompson, and Mary Steenbergen) is of the second sort, and really, it should have been longer (it clocks in at one hour and thirty eight minutes). Bill Bryson is a funny guy who has written a lot of travelogue sort of books which are truly a pleasure to read. But adapting a good book (‘Walking the Appalachian Trail’) into a good movie is not always easy. Which bits do you include and which do you leave out? Who do you get to play the main characters? One thing is for sure, this was a low budget film, filmed aonly t the Georgia end of the Appalachian Trail. It doesn’t matter. It’s still a joy.
The movie, as you might expect from the cast, is about growing old, but still managing to have a few adventures late in life. Here, here to that. I’m all for it, and I’m heading to Turkey and Jordan in May to do just that with a group of church folks. This movie does have the occasional blue moment, by which I mean there are the occasional S and F words, and there is a bit of risque dialogue, done tongue in cheek as a sort of joke, but apart from that, this movie is basically family friendly, and produces a lot of laughs. While its not old farts without smarts trying things they shouldn’t start, sometimes it seems that way. Better to say, its a tale of old minds writing checks that their bodies can’t entirely cash.
Basically this is more of a buddy movie, than a journey movie, and the interplay between Redford and Nolte is excellent. Apparently, Redford wanted to do this movie with Paul Newman, but then Paul passed away. It would have been a nice way for those two to walk off into the sunset together, since Redford really began his film career with Newman in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, one of my all time favorite westerns. This movie however is an eastern, not a western, though it involves mainly two guys from Des Moines. One needs to overlook some of the incongruities, but then, that is true about life as well.
Me personally, I’m thankful to Bill Bryson for raising a ton of money, and building a new library for my alma mater in England— Durham University. Yes, even American authors can now become chancellors of British University. How hard could it be? Not as hard as walking the whole 1,600 plus miles of the Appalachian trail I’ll wager.